KMBC Student Climbs Higher

How many college students does it take to change a light bulb – 250 feet above the ground?  The answer:  one adventurous student!  David Bagby, a junior at Kentucky Mountain Bible College and a student worker at Mountain Gospel (WMTC) radio station, changed a total of five light bulbs on WMTC’s FM tower this past summer.

“It was nerve racking,” Bagby says. “It was intense.”

Armed with only a screw driver, a pocket knife, and a bag of bulbs strapped to his belt, Bagby began his daunting ascent around 9:30 one hot and clear summer morning.  He spent about one hour replacing two bulbs located one fourth of the way up the tower.  After lunch he mounted the tower again.  This time he spent two hours climbing three fourth of the way up the 370 foot tower.  There he replaced three more light bulbs.

“It was slow going,” he remarks.

For safety, Bagby wore a harness with two large climbing carabiners attached to short ropes. He had to ensure that one carabiner was always hooked to the tower.  Thus, he constantly hooked and unhooked the two carabiners as he ascended the ladder-like face of the three sided tower a few rungs at a time. It was monotonous and tiresome; after some time his feet began to hurt.

Climbing was only the first difficulty Bagby faced. Once he reached the bulbs, he had to release heavy glass domes which encapsulate the bulbs.  These red glass domes protect their luminous contents from the elements, and they make the otherwise white light bulbs appear red.  To his annoyance, some of these domes were stuck, sealed onto the rubber gaskets on which they sat. Bagby had to pound on them to knock them loose.  Fortunately a lanyard tied them to the towers so that they wouldn’t plummet to the earth.  

The second unforeseeable difficulty Bagby experienced was removing the old bulbs.  Several had not merely burned out; they had somehow shattered inside their glassy houses.  He had to gently grasp as much of the remaining broken glass as he could to twist the stubs of the bulbs out of their sockets.  In spite of the difficulties and the dizzying height, Bagby took the time to enjoy the view.  “It was amazing!” he says.  He could spy the entire campus of KMBC and the roofs of some of Mt. Carmel’s buildings. He carried a camera with him and took many spectacular photos of the view.  

Regardless of the view, Bagby was relieved to dismount from the gently swaying tower and onto solid ground.  He was satisfied to see his work accomplished and to gaze upward at the FM tower fully ablaze with five new bulbs. Nevertheless, he hopes this is not the last time he gets to climb the tower.

“Oh, yeah; I can’t wait to climb the tower again!” he says with excitement.